U.S.-Japan-Southeast Asia Fellowship Year 2 Fellow: Kensuke Yanagida

Residency: March 2020

BiographyKensuke Yanagida

Mr. Kensuke Yanagida is a Research Fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs. He was earlier a Research Fellow at GRIPS Alliance, National Graduate Institute of Policy Studies in Tokyo, Japan; a Visiting Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Kyushu University; and a Research Associate at the Asian Development Bank Institute. He has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. His research interests include international trade issues in Asia. His publications include “The Effects of Mega-Regional Trade Agreements on Vietnam” with Tomoo Kikuchi and Huong Vo in Journal of Asian Economics.

Research Topic: Towards a Policy Framework Promoting a Quality Infrastructure Partnership in the Indo-Pacific: Beyond Sub-Regional Cooperation

Background: Several countries announced their connectivity plans including the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) by Japan, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by China and the EU Strategy of connecting Europe & Asia by EU. There is an increasing need of a coordinating mechanism that connects different connectivity plans. Such efforts would include the promotion of "high-quality infrastructure." On a sub-regional level, the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) program is one of the most successful programs. Going beyond sub-regions, there is a need of an institutional hub as well as a useful approach to create a wider blue connectivity print in the Indo-Pacific region.

Research questions:

  1. Is the GMS program’s experience applicable for Indo-Pacific connectivity cooperation?
  2. What are the prospects of the economic integration, particularly the supply chains, in Southeast Asia and South Asia?
  3. How can the US, Japan and Southeast Asia work together to promote a quality infrastructure partnership?